May 26, 2023

Faculty Affairs Spotlight with Shahara Wheeler

You are a Faculty Affairs Specialist for the Department of Pediatrics, what does this position entail? How did you get here?

Image of a woman smiling.

 The Faculty Affairs Office is responsible for the faculty lifecycles, so we handle the offer letters, promotions, leaves of absence, sabbaticals, credentialing, coordinate professional billing, and other Human Resource needs. I have a background in Human Resources and one of my friends encouraged me to apply to U of M since I had been working at a tech company for several years. She enjoyed working in healthcare and thought I would be a good fit. I saw an opening for a Human Resource Generalist position working in the faculty affairs office in a different department and I applied.  I’m glad I made the leap because I have enjoyed working on the faculty side of Human Resources.  I am always learning something new.

Can you share what the Faculty Affairs team does as a whole, and what services you provide?

The faculty affairs admin team is what I call the “Dream Team”.  I consider us part of a relay team in Pediatrics. Once the division has decided on the candidate they want to pursue, our office “takes the baton” and we generate the offer letter, and manage the onboarding process, (background checks, drug screenings, medical school appointment, special privileges, licensure, orientations). Plus, we manage the outreach credentialing for the faculty so they can see patients at our different site locations. All these processes are going on at the same time, so our office is very busy! 

While handling new hires and new appointments, the promotion process is concurrently in motion. We also handle the Nurse Practitioner, and Physician Assistant onboarding, credentialing, and professional billing needs. Once the person has received all the necessary approvals, we can then “hand the baton” back to the division so they can then handle their responsibilities and get the physician ready for their clinics. 

What is your most memorable experience working in Faculty affairs? What accomplishments are you most proud of? 

 I have so many memorable experiences but I love knowing that all the hard work I do to get the faculty onboarded on time so they can see patients is my proudest accomplishment.  I am usually onboarding 20-plus people at the same time who are all from various divisions so getting everyone ready for clinic on time is great!

I remember a time when one of our doctors called me after working hours for a critical patient who needed medication and the doctor needed access to a system for him to write the prescription.  I always make myself available for these urgent requests. In this case, the physician and the parent were greatly appreciative of my efforts when the issue was resolved. This is just one of the examples that make me proud of my role!

What makes the Department of Pediatrics an ideal place to work?

I enjoy the support we get from leadership in helping us make sure we have everything we need to be successful in our roles. The Department of Pediatrics is a group of good-hearted people. I always brag about the faculty we have because they must have big hearts to do what they do. Working in pediatrics you feel part of a team no matter what your role is.